Farm Structure Survey 2023

What kind of survey is it?

The aim of the Farm Structure Survey is to provide comparable data on all agricultural holdings across the European Union (EU). Agriculture produces almost 100% of food, covers around 40% of the European Union’s territory, and takes up about 40% of the EU budget. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the only policy the implementation of which is almost entirely financed by EU funds, and it must be based on specific input.

Farm structure surveys have been conducted in the EU since the 1960s – every 10 years as an agricultural census and in the intervening years as sample surveys. To ensure better comparability, a common methodology, indicators to be collected, their definitions, etc. have been agreed.

Who commissioned the survey?

The Farm Structure Survey is conducted pursuant to the Official Statistics Act, Regulation (EU) 2018/1091 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and Commission Implementing Regulations (EU) 2021/2286 and (EU) 2020/405.

The Farm Structure Survey is co-funded by the European Commission.

The Farm Structure Survey is co-funded by the European Commission

 


Why are these data needed?

The Farm Structure Survey is needed for the formulation of agricultural, environmental, and other national policies.

The survey provides public and research authorities, businesses, and international organisations with comprehensive and accurate data on agriculture. This information is used to make decisions in the agricultural sector and to identify issues that require more attention and funding. Compared with other surveys, the Farm Structure Survey offers a more complete picture of agriculture by looking at all the main activities of agricultural holdings.

The data collected through the Farm Structure Surveys are also required by the European Union's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which uses them for policy development, research, modelling, and more.

How often is the survey conducted?

Selective Farm Structure Surveys are carried out twice in the period between the agricultural censuses. In this decade, they will be conducted in 2023 and 2026.

Where are the survey results published?

Statistics Estonia publishes the results of the Farm Structure Survey in 2024 in the statistical database on its website at www.stat.ee.

How are the survey participants selected?

In the Farm Structure Survey, agricultural holdings (both legal and natural persons) are surveyed if they meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • 5 ha of utilised agricultural area (incl. arable land, permanent grassland, fruit and/or berry plantations, tree nurseries and kitchen gardens);
  • 2 ha of arable land;
  • 0.5 ha of potatoes;
  • 0.5 ha of outdoor vegetables or strawberries;
  • 0.2 ha of aromatic and medicinal plants and herbs, flowers and/or ornamental plants, area under seeds, outdoor tree nurseries;
  • 0.3 ha of fruit and berry plantations and/or other permanent outdoor crops;
  • 0.1 ha of outdoor grapevines;
  • 100 m2 of greenhouses;
  • 1.7 livestock units of animals (one livestock unit corresponds to, e.g., 1 dairy cow; other animals have lower coefficients, e.g. 0.8 for a non-dairy cow; 0.3 for a fattening pig; 0.007 for a broiler, etc.).

The Farm Structure Survey collects data on at least 98% of the utilised agricultural area (excl. kitchen gardens) and 98% of the livestock units in the country. Utilised agricultural land includes permanent grassland where only maintenance mowing is carried out but for which subsidies are received.

Statistics Estonia compiles the list of agricultural holdings for 2023 on the basis of registers (ARIB, organic farming register, etc.) and other information.

Holdings are stratified according to economic size and type of farming, and the sample is randomly selected. To ensure a representative selection, the largest and most important entities are universally included.

How are the data collected?

Statistics Estonia conducts the Farm Structure Survey in autumn 2023. Data are collected with a survey and some data are obtained directly from registers. Information on the agricultural holding is requested from the holder, the manager, or the holder's or manager's representative.

  • The questionnaire can be completed online from 1 September to 20 September. If possible, we encourage you to respond online, as this allows you to do so at your convenience. The questionnaire is available at https://estat.stat.ee. The web environment can be accessed with an ID card, Mobile ID, or Smart ID. Use Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox if possible. We recommend using the latest version of the web browser.
  • Managers or holders of agricultural holdings who have not submitted their data online by 20 September are contacted by a telephone interviewer of Statistics Estonia between 21 September and 15 November. The call is recorded to ensure better service and data quality.

What is asked in the Farm Structure Survey?

The Farm Structure Survey 2023 includes questions about the management and labour force of the agricultural holding, land use, number of livestock, other gainful activities, tillage methods, and machinery and equipment.

Where possible, the questionnaire is prefilled with data on land and livestock registered in the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB), information from the Land Cadastre of the Land Board, labour force data from the Employment Register, and information on machinery from the Traffic Register. Respondents can check and correct the prefilled data if necessary.

What is asked?

  • Data on holding management
    Manager of the holding; information about the manager, incl. length of time as manager, age, sex, working hours in the holding (e.g. 25–50% of full-time working hours, etc.), agricultural qualifications and participation in vocational training.
  • Land use
    Land tenure by type, utilised agricultural area by type of ownership and agricultural crops, irrigation.
  • Number of livestock, poultry, and beehives.
  • Labour force and other gainful activities of the holding
    Working hours of the holder and his or her family members, permanent, temporary, and other employees; other gainful activities related to the holding, other gainful activities of the holding’s labour force outside the holding.
  • Tillage methods
    Drainage, tillage methods (conventional or conservation tillage, direct seeding), soil cover in winter, crop rotation.
  • Machinery, equipment, and storage facilities

Own machinery, use of machinery of others, precision farming, livestock machinery and equipment, storage of agricultural products, equipment used for renewable energy production.

The data collected with the survey are combined with the crop and animal farming data from the organic farming register of the Estonian Agricultural and Food Board, data on rural development and other support and on ecological focus areas from the Agricultural Registers and Information Board, and data on enterprise groups from the Statistical Business Register.

Is participation in the Farm Structure Survey compulsory?

Pursuant to the Official Statistics Act, responding to the Farm Structure Survey is compulsory for holdings who own or manage agricultural land or agricultural livestock. The data of the Farm Structure Survey serve as important input to agricultural and environmental policies – therefore, each holding’s response is very important.

How to make sure that it is a survey by Statistics Estonia?

Telephone interviews are conducted by specially trained interviewers. The call is made from Statistics Estonia’s call centre number 5558 9630 or from the interviewer’s mobile phone. The names and phone numbers of Statistics Estonia's interviewers can be checked https://www.stat.ee/en/statistics-estonia/contacts.

Data protection

Strict security requirements are observed to protect data. The collected data are confidential. The data are processed and used only for statistical purposes and are published in aggregated form.

Where can I get more information about the Farm Structure Survey?

If you have any problems or questions regarding the submission of data, please contact Statistics Estonia's customer support by phone at +372 625 9300 or by email at klienditugi [at] stat.ee (klienditugi[at]stat[dot]ee).

Due to maintenance, Statistics Estonia’s and census websites will be temporarily unavailable on 26  February between 14:00 and 18:00. We apologize for the inconvenience.